Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday word, 22 May 16

Transforming Our World—Again
Solemnity of the Holy Trinity (22 May 2016)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Eucharistic worship allows us to celebrate events in the life of Jesus. Jesus revealed God in our flesh and blood in the events of his life. Today we celebrate Jesus revealing God in the power of Holy Spirit. We celebrate our one God creating and saving us as Three Persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Today personalizes Pentecost: today welcomes us to savour what Pentecost began, the empowering of Jesus’ disciples in every age.

The power Jesus gives us is more real than atomic power, political power, social power. Jesus’ Spirit makes all other powers possible. Jesus’ Spirit guides humans to use powers for the good of all peoples and all creation. Jesus’ Spirit helps humans overcome power that destroys so human life and the planet’s life may flourish—and to flourish as created.

By living our human life fully Jesus revealed a life em-braced by Holy Spirit; he revealed living by the Spirit. St. Paul reminded us that as Jesus revealed he offered us what he revealed—an attitude and way of living—and who he revealed—Holy Spirit. Jesus did that not in any show-and-tell fashion but as witness to God’s heart and as agent of the gift of Holy Spirit and Spirit living: through Jesus we have gained access to this gift in which we stand. Our gift is right relationship with God.

As in other relationships God in Jesus by Holy Spirit desires us to collaborate with God. Pope Francis sharpens the desire of our triune God. “God,” Francis has said, “wishes to work with us and…counts on our cooperation.”1 Jesus gave us his Spirit to empower us to collaborate with our triune God. The more we give ourselves to the Spirit the more alert and ready we are to cooperate with the ever-creating Spirit. 

We give ourselves to the one who is always available. St. Paul has written us that God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. His choice of poured out is in sync with the tradition of Pentecost: God has poured out what you see and hear—the apostles speaking in languages anyone could understand.2 The word conveys no accidental spilling but an intentional self-emptying.

Mutual self-emptying, mutual sharing is how we describe the relationship among Father, Son, Holy Spirit. It is intentional. In the words on Jesus’ lips in the gospel:  Everything that the Father has is mine. They desire we share in it. Jesus again: Holy Spirit will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Declared: not given as a secret to hoard; given so we may continue to make known what Jesus reveals to us and among us, his selfless, transforming Spirit-love. Jesus’ Spirit is the source of our Christian power. It has transformed our world and can transform it again with our cooperation.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in our triune God with worship to help you: trace the sign of the cross on yourself several times as you say the Divine Name slowly. 
  • Ask the disciples, who cooperated with Jesus in their imperfection to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise him for dying, rising and giving us his Spirit; ask Jesus to help you experience your baptized life nourished by his eucharist in a more loving, active and generous fashion.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to cooperate more readily with his Spirit abiding in  you.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Saying Jesus’ words, Our Father, reminds us Jesus revealed God personally and that like risen Jesus, his Father brings us more alive by their Spirit in us.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Laudato Si, 80.
  2. Acts 2.33.
Wiki-image: The Holy Trinity icon in art PD-US Tabernacle by Herzi Pinki CC BY-SA 3.0

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Communication, Mercy, Healing

An initiative in Australia aims to put people first. The Australian Catholic Bishops “will provide an opportunity for ordinary Catholics and child abuse survivors to speak directly to Church leadership.” It is a concrete response to the invitation Pope Francis extended to let “the power of mercy to heal wounded relationships” (World Communications Day Message). Stories told and believed begin healing and empower people.  
Wiki-image of Kings Canyon by Ueli Fahrni CC BY-SA 3.0

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Congratulations! Enjoy a blessed day and deeper love and respect in the future.  
Wiki-image of Rhododendron ‘Mother's Day’ by Ryan Somma CC BY-SA 2.0

Sunday word, 08 May 16

The Heart of It
Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (08 May 2016)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Each Easter Vigil those baptized promise to live as members of risen Jesus. The already-baptized renew their baptismal promises with them. On Easter Day all gathered at Mass renew them. Baptismal promises are the heart of our creeds: the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.1 When we say, I believe, we pledge ourselves to a person: Jesus. Risen Jesus embodies a single mystery: Incarnation-Resurrection-Ascension. Threefold yet one mystery.

I will let some phrases of our creeds focus our vision on the mystery we celebrate: Jesus came down from heaven…for our sake…he suffered death and was buried, [he] rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. We hear the phrases express Incarnation-Resurrection-Ascension. We focus on one aspect of Jesus then another so we may appreciate him and all to which he invites us.

To focus on one aspect at a time is not strange. We do it when we appreciate the mystery of each other. To focus one aspect at a time is not limited to our Christian selves. An example: athletes focus on separate parts of their bodies so their entire bodies may function with greater ease and harmony. We celebrate the Ascension of Jesus so we may appreciate him as our Messiah and Lord sharing his life with us.

Appreciating Messiah Jesus stumbles because our language is limited as we try to express deep truth. The Ascension side of Jesus’ mystery highlights that. You’ll remind me scripture says he was lifted up. Scripture’s truth embraces more: ascending speaks not about space; it affirms risen Jesus shares God’s life. Scripture more often uses exaltation and its enthronement imagery. Our creeds let us echo it: seated at the right hand of God. Jesus, who died for us, was raised to be the source of God’s life for us.

Raised for us. Resurrection is not resuscitation; it is new creation from death to absolutely new, unlimited, powerful life. Scripture points to the truth that risen Jesus lives and even death no longer limits him: to the women at the empty tomb two men in dazzling garments asked why they sought the living one among the dead.2

Living Jesus would not remain present in his glorified body. Yet he is not absent.To this day risen Jesus is more powerfully present by his Spirit. Exalted at the right hand of his Father, Jesus, author of life,3 is present each moment. Risen Jesus’ exaltation as life-giving Lord opens on to his more intimate presence with us and all reborn in baptism, sealed with his Holy Spirit and nourished by his eucharist.

What does Jesus’ spirit-presence mean for us? In his spirit is our present; in his spirit is our future. Our present life is limited: it is broken and wounded by sin. Our future will be healed. We will be healed and share fully Jesus’ divine nature as he shares our human nature. In our present Jesus’ spirit allows us to eat with him so his flesh and blood nourish us to share his mission: be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth; Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

This is our mission: to make Jesus known because we know him through the church, its sacraments and the words of scripture it proclaims. Deepening our relationship with Jesus makes us more effective disciples. Deepening our relationship with Jesus lets us evangelize joyfully. Celebrating the Ascension-Exaltation of Jesus with sacramental devotion renews our confidence to count on his promise and give ourselves anew to his gospel for the sake of our world.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Bask in the living light of our triune God.
  • Ask the apostles to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise him for abiding with us even when we are unaware he accompanies us; thank him for the privileged way he abides with us in his sacraments and shares his exalted life with us.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to live out the life he offers.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his words, who art in heaven, to remind us we call on the exalted, living God. God’s life Jesus shares and offers us.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise


Wiki-image: The Ascension PD-US Spirit-fire by Nheyob CC BY-SA 4.0